Council supports football stadium

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 6, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &045; City leaders officially put their support behind plans to build a new football stadium at Demopolis High School by voting for a $7.5 million bond package.

Councilman Woody Collins, who also sits on the Finance Committee, said that committee was hesitant to move forward with bond negotiations until it was clear that the city council would back their efforts.

Collins said including the stadium project would have &8220;significant impact on our borrowing power&8221;. He asked for a poll of the council leaders as to whether or not they would support the issue.

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Councilman Jack Cooley took the measure one step further with a motion for the council to support the Finance Council’s seeking a $7.5 million bond issue that would include the high school football stadium.

The Board of Education for the Demopolis City Schools sent the city council a letter dated April 5 that reiterated what they are willing to do in the way of funding for the project. In essence, the city will commit to the repayment of no more than $2 million in bonds over the next 10 years. The school system will pay anything in excess, which is expected to be approximately $500,000.

The total expected cost of the stadium will be included in one bond issue so the city can receive a better interest rate and improve their borrowing power.

Collins said the city can borrow up to between $8 million and $9 million. The city is expected to pay off another bond issue next year, which would clear more room for future borrowing needs.

Councilman Charles Jones said his only concern was depleting the city’s borrowing power.

The total bond package will include projects related to:

-A municipal complex for the courts and police department

-Fire Station East

-North Fire Station

-New rescue truck for fire department

-Football stadium at Demopolis High School

In the end, the council voted 4-0 in favor of the entire bond package. Councilman Melvin Yelverton abstained from voting because he said he was not aware the issue would be addressed at the meeting.